May 26, 2020

Alexander named 2020 Dean's Excellence Award Winner in Research

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Alexander Matt 2016Matthew Alexander, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics, is the junior faculty winner of the 2020 Dean’s Excellence Award in Research. Alexander earned his Ph.D. in Genetics and Developmental Biology in the laboratory of Daniel Garry, M.D., at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. His graduate training focused on the characterization of forkhead transcription factors in skeletal muscle and cardiac progenitor cells. He moved to Boston in 2008 to join the laboratory of Louis Kunkel, Ph.D., as a postdoctoral fellow where he focused on characterizing the role of non-coding RNAs in skeletal muscle diseases. In 2016, he joined the UAB Department of Pediatrics and established his own laboratory to study the role of epigenetic modifiers of human neuromuscular diseases, in addition to generating novel zebrafish models of muscular dystrophies for drug library screens.

During his time at UAB, Alexander has established himself as an outstanding young investigator. He is passionate and devoted to his research, and works tirelessly to find treatments for children with muscular dystrophies. His success as a researcher is evident in his ability to secure extramural funding for his work. Within his first three years in the department, he received a R21, R01, and private funding. The funding from his R01 supports his work to study a microRNA signaling pathway that modulates Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) associated pathologies. Alexander has also established significant collaborations with faculty in the Department of Pediatrics, UAB at-large, and external partners that have resulted in 29 manuscripts, one patent, and another patent pending. In recognition for his research achievements and potential for continued scientific discovery,  Alexander was selected as a 2019 Pittman Scholar.

“Dr. Alexander is one of our department’s most promising young investigators,” said Tina Simpson, M.D., MPH, Vice-Chair for Faculty Development in the Department of Pediatrics. “His passion and commitment to finding treatment for children with muscular dystrophy is inspiring. Since joining the department, I have seen what an outstanding researcher he is and think he is most deserving of this award.”